In recent months, it’s fair to say we have been spending a lot more time indoors than we usually would. As a result, you may have noticed a slight rise in your energy bills. Getting caught up in the myths spread online about the best ways to save on your energy is an easy mistake to make. One such myth is to leave your heating on all day as oppose to switching it off when it’s not needed. However, the likes of the Energy Saving Trust disprove this speculation and suggest only using your heating when necessary is the best way to save energy and money.
Other energy-saving myths include keeping your lights on all the time instead of switching them on and off. However, recent findings prove that turning off your lights when they’re not needed can save on average £15 per person in your household per year, and for even further money saving tips, replacing all bulbs with LEDs can save £40 per person per year too. Even simple tips and tricks such as switching phone charges and other wired appliances off at the socket can save you up to £80 each year.
Although these basic energy saving techniques may not seem significantly beneficial, due to the increased amount of time we are currently spending in our homes, they will make a bigger difference than you think.
Some even go to the extremes of wrapping clingfilm to their windows to help save money on their heating bills. This cost-effective way of insulating your home is in fact true! Now that we have more time to test this rather unusual concept out, why not give it a go? Although, in the long run, it is advised installing A rated double-glazed windows instead — by doing this, you could save up to £285 a year on your heating bills in a typical detached house.
Now is a better time than ever to do some research on how to save on your energy bills while we spend the majority of our time indoors. Although some more extravagant changes such as installing a new boiler or investing in renewable technologies might not be possible at this time, exploring all the options available to help you cut bills can prove highly beneficial.
What tips have already been tried and tested?
It’s easy to fall into the habit of just renewing your energy contract with the same supplier. But spending time on price comparison sites to see which energy supplier is cheaper could see you saving hundreds of pounds. Investing time into comparing this could be time well spent, rather than money.
Since we’ve already established that leaving your heating on all day to help save money is nothing more than an old folk’s tale, turning the thermostat down by just 1⁰C could save you £60 per person per year on your bills.
Other tips involve air drying your clothes either on a washing hanger or, providing the weather is good enough to do so, hang clothes outside on the line to dry. It’s found that doing this can save you on average £30 per year on bills and prevent 90kg of CO2 emissions that are caused by appliances such as tumble dryers. However, in times where a tumble dryer is necessary, ensuring to put one full load in as oppose to two half loads also helps reduce unnecessary electrical bills. The same concept applies to using your washing machine — setting the temperature to no more than 30 degrees is another steppingstone towards saving money on your energy.
Doing Your Bit for the environment
In the process of developing new ways to save on money, you could be unintentionally helping save the environment too! As Britain’s target to cut greenhouse gas emissions to almost zero by 2050 commences, each and every individual has a key part to play in achieving this. Although for the majority of us, trying to develop a more environmentally friendly workplace has been put on hold for now, but we can still apply the same techniques while we work from home. It has been suggested that 54% of the energy produced in the UK is wasted, meaning there is a lot more we could be doing to stop this unnecessary use taking its toll on the environment.
With this said, in July 2018, Northern Powergrid, who can help households connect and disconnect electric supplies, revealed how their collaboration with GenGame to test a mobile app that encourages households to reduce their electricity consumption when demand is high, could be the next best incentive to reduce energy use. Turning the concept into a game automatically encourages competition, therefore helping households reduce energy consumption. After players receive a notification informing them the game has started, the player that turns off the most home devices that aren’t in use such as televisions, washing machines, lights and any other devices, receives the most points and could even have the chance to win cash prizes. Let the energy saving games begin!
Speaking more on this clever new app, Andrew Webster, Northern Powergrid Innovation project manager, said “Household electricity use will grow significantly as electric vehicles and heat pumps become mainstream, increasing demand on the network. Mobile games offer a fun solution to help manage this demand, rewarding our customers for reducing their consumption at peak periods.”
Put into context, although turning off your washing machine may only be saving you 10p, by turning this concept into a game, it will give those that play it the chance to earn additional money through prizes. Every month sees hundreds of pounds worth being given out as prizes to players who compete to reduce their electricity consumption by an on average amount of 11%.
Energy Consumption and the Impact of Fuel Poverty
With the increasing amount of time we are spending indoors, there is a rising concern regarding the risk of fuel poverty. This is when households spend more than 10% of their income on domestic energy use, making them a fuel poor household. With regards to help prevent this, one supporter of the fuel poverty charity is Northern Powergrid, who have contributed greatly to National Energy Action (NEA) throughout the years.
Head of stakeholder and customer engagement at Northern Powergrid, Siobhan Barton, said: “Whilst we don’t sell electricity, as the company responsible for the power network which delivers electricity to 3.9 million homes and businesses across the North East, Yorkshire, and northern Lincolnshire, we do have a role to play in helping the industry tackle fuel poverty and encouraging energy efficiency.
“We’ve reduced our network charges, which form part of domestic customers’ bills from their chosen electricity supplier, funded a Citizens Advice Bureau fuel debt advice service and helped kick-start a number of projects through our community energy seed fund.”
These are only a few of the useful tips and tricks you can use to help save not only on your electric bills, but the environment too. If you’re currently battling with fuel poverty now that you’re working from home, make sure to contact your supplier and see how they can negotiate a solution that satisfies both parties. So, with this said, why not take some of this advice on board and see how much you can save?